Regenerative Medicine and Aging Program

Initiatives

The Regenerative Medicine and Aging Program within the Kogod Center on Aging researches the use of cell and organ transplant in the aging process.

Many age-related diseases cause tissue damage, and it's possible that adult stem cell transplantation could repair this damage using a person's own cells.

Regenerative medicine researchers are studying a method to harvest cells from the abdominal fat of adults, genetically modify those cells and then transplant them back into the individuals to regenerate damaged tissue.

Focus areas

The Regenerative Medicine and Aging Program focuses on developing technologies to:

  • Replace damaged cells with healthy cells
  • Determine why cell and organ transplantation is not as effective in older patients as it is in younger patients

Another area of research within the Regenerative Medicine and Aging Program is studying unique molecules in the blood of older adults that make them vulnerable to heart failure after a heart attack. This work has helped identify six markers that can predict poor outcomes at the time of cardiac injury and helping pave the way for regenerative therapies.

Researchers also are studying the effectiveness of cells grown under different conditions in treating patients with neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's.

Program leadership

Director: Andre Terzic, M.D., Ph.D.

Watch a video about the Regenerative Medicine and Aging Program.

Transcript

Andre Terzic, M.D., Ph.D.

We have been dreaming, really, of being able one day to offer regenerative solutions to our patients. When I was in medical school, this was just science fiction.

We know worldwide that increasingly the population is aging. And in fact, with the aging of the population, one of the prevalent conditions is heart disease.

We're first trying to understand what we can do to indeed help the heart heal itself. We take the stem cells and we engage them to become heart-like cells. Once they reach that stage, then we inject them back into patients that have suffered from heart attack, with the notion that these already heart-like cells will be able to repair the overall failing organ.

What we'll be able to offer to patients at the end of the decade will be something that we have never offered before. And the particular excitement is that it will not be just one field of medicine to be affected, but I think across disciplines of both medicine and surgery we will see significant success: Parkinson's, heart failure, rheumatoid arthritis and so on. This truly is the frontier of medicine.